While Blake Griffin practiced with the Clippers’ development league team Wednesday, teammates Jamil Wilson and C.J. Williams had been transferred to the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario so they could participate in the session and so the two players on two-way contracts could preserve their precious remaining time with the team.
Griffin has missed 14 games recovering from a sprained medial collateral ligament injury to his left knee that was suffered against the Lakers on Nov. 27.
The media was not allowed at the practice at the team’s practice facility in Playa Vista and there was no update on how Griffin fared. But Griffin is scheduled to speak with the media before the Clippers practice Thursday.
“Will he play next game? He actually could,” Rivers said. “He’s that close. I didn’t say he would. I said he actually could.”
When Griffin was injured against the Lakers, the Clippers said he could be out up to eight weeks.
Playing against the Lakers would mean Griffin would have been out just three-plus weeks.
Rivers said Griffin’s “work ethic” is outstanding and even he is amazed that his All-Star could come back sooner than the original timetable.
Griffin leads the team in scoring (23.6 points per game) and is tied for first in assists (5.1) and is second in rebounds (7.9).
Players under two-way contracts can be on an NBA team’s active or inactive roster up to 45 days.
Wilson is close to that limit, standing at 40 days with the Clippers either starting or practicing.
While Griffin has been out, Wilson has started in 10 of the 15 games he has played power forward in place of Griffin.
“Some days I wake up — and obviously I’m getting closer to the end — and I’m just like you don’t know what’s going to happen,” Wilson said Tuesday night after he scored a career-high 17 points. “Sometimes I can be a little timid and it can kind of put you in a funk. But then you just kind of embrace the moment. Being here and being around these guys, it’s a great feeling. So they don’t let you feel sorry for yourself or anything like that. It’s a little nerve racking, but at the same time I’ve still got a job to do.”
Williams has started in seven of the 21 games he has played in for the Clippers.
His time with the Clippers is 34 days.
“The thing is, sometimes you sacrifice different things,” Williams said. “And you have to understand that when you sacrifice, things may look bad for a while and then things are always going to come up. I’m a Christian man and I always say there is a ‘test before the testimony.’ That’s why I’ve sacrifice a couple of years. I could have been making money overseas, but I decided to play in the G-League and it’s helped me. From then on, I’ve just tried to take advantage of every moment I can play.”